Is the Senkaku Island Dispute All Just a Huge Conspiracy?

The Senkaku Island dispute has been blowing up again lately and the media is all ablaze with anti-Japanese protests in China. Japanese businesses are being vandalized, Japanese cars destroyed, and all sorts of crazy nonsense has been going down over there lately. So why are the Senkaku Islands so important to these countries and who do they really belong to?

Luckily for you, I’ve done extensive research, cracked the case, and can say with utmost certainty who has the rights to lay claim to the islands.

The Senkaku Islands and How it All Began

Before this whole deal made its way into the media, I didn’t really know much about the Senkaku Island debate, let alone where these islands were. The Senkaku Islands, or Diaoyu as they are known in China, are a group of five uninhabited islands and three barren rocks located in the East China Sea between Japan, Taiwan, and China, with all three countries laying claim to them.

Following the Meiji Restoration, the Japanese government formally annexed what was known as the Ryukyu Kingdom as Okinawa Prefecture in 1879. The Senkaku Islands, which lay between the Ryukyu Kingdom and the Chinese Qing Empire, became the boundary between the two nations.

In 1885, Japan considered taking formal control of the Senkaku Islands. However, the islands had been given Chinese names, Chinese newspapers were claiming that Japan was occupying islands off of China’s coast, and Japan just didn’t really want to make the Qing Empire suspicious of anything by annexing the islands. As such, the request to initiate formal control over the islands was rejected.

In 1895, during the First Sino-Japanese War, Japan decided to incorporate the islands under the administration of Okinawa, stating that it had been conducting surveys there since 1884 and that the islands effectively didn’t belong to anyone, with there being no evidence to suggest that they had ever been under the Qing Empire’s control.

After China lost the Sino-Japanese War, both countries signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki which stated that China would surrender the island of Taiwan together with all islands appertaining or belonging to said island of Taiwan.

The tricky part here is that there was no agreement as to who had control over the Senkaku Islands prior to this, so it is debatable as to whether or not the Senkaku Islands were actually included as part of the Treaty of Shimonoseki. This detail is important because the treaty was rendered moot when Japan lost World War II in 1945. The Treaty of San Francisco nullified prior treaties concerning the area.

Like I said, there is a disagreement between the Japanese, Chinese, and Taiwanese governments as to whether or not the islands are implied to be part of the “islands appertaining or belonging to said island of Taiwan” in the Treaty of Shimonoseki. China and Taiwan both dispute the Japanese claim to the island by citing Japan’s abovementioned reasons to turn down the request to incorporate the islands in 1885. Both China and Taiwan assert sovereignty over the islands.

The Coverup

Unfortunately for Japan and China, the abovementioned history means absolutely nothing. Through my extensively painstaking research on the topic, I uncovered the greatest government conspiracy coverup fiasco known to man. Neither Japan, China, or Taiwan have the right to claim the Senkaku Islands as their own.

I discovered that shortly after Lithuania’s personal union with Poland in 1386, a brave and handsome Lithuanian man set out on a sailing expedition from the port city of Klaipėda in search of fame and fortune. Tragically, the ships did not return for they had become irreparably damaged and moored on a rocky, uninhabited archipelago in a strange and distant sea.

The captain of the ship detailed the landscape and surroundings in his journal as he slowly passed away from starvation. He wrote of his dreams and aspirations, his love for his country, and claimed the archipelago in the name of his family.

This man was my ancestor. I traced back the lineage and I found that I am the true heir to the Senkaku Islands. Both the Chinese and Japanese governments know this and they’ve tried to hide the fact that the islands belong to me and my family with their made up histories and elaborate fairy tales. I profess that I am the only one who may rightfully lay claim to these lands. I declare myself high king of the Senkaku Islands.

But just for fun, let’s explore why China and Japan think that they have the right to claim the area and not me.

The Current State of Affairs

The Senkaku Islands are currently administered by Japan, but Taiwan and China both lay claim to them as well. The United States occupied the islands after World War II from 1945 to 1972 and even though they do not have an official position on the validity of the competing sovereignty claims, the islands are included within the U.S. Japan Security Treaty. This means that if Japan needed to defend the islands, it would be likely to compel action by the United States military.

Both China and Japan indicated their sovereignty claims with respect to the islands to the United Nations Security Council at the time of the US transfer of its administrative powers to Japan after its occupation in 1972. Sovereignty over the islands would give Japan exclusive oil, mineral, and fishing rights in surrounding waters.

Basically what happened was that the US handed the islands over to Japan, and China wasn’t too happy about it because they believed it should be placed in their hands, not Japan’s.

China’s Claim to the Islands

It seems that China really didn’t put up too much of a fuss about these islands until after it was discovered that there might be oil reserves under the sea surrounding the islands. The study was conducted in 1968, and the Chinese started getting really adamant over their claims to the region shortly thereafter, especially with the US choice to hand control of the region over to Japan. From the Chinese perspective, this is what it looks like for the Senkaku Islands.

1. China claims the discovery of the islands for themselves, citing early recordings of such in old maps and travelogues.

2. The islands were China’s frontier off-shore defense against wakou (Japanese pirates) during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911) and an old Chinese map of Asia as well as a map compiled by a Japanese cartographer in the 18th century show the islands as being a part of China.

3. As mentioned above, Japan took control of the islands during the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895 by means of the Treaty of Shimonoseki. But a letter from the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1885 warning against annexing the islands due to anxiety about China’s response, shows, in China’s opinion, that Japan knew the islands were not actually “up for grabs.”

4. The Potsdam Declaration stated that “Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku, and such minor islands as we determine,” with “we” being the victors of the Second World War, including the Republic of China. Japan accepted the terms of the Declaration when it surrendered and China sees this as a reason for stating they have rights to the islands in question.

5. Both China and Taiwan never endorsed the US transfer of the islands to Japan in 1970s.

Japan’s Claim to the Islands

The Japanese stance on the issue is that there isn’t even an issue at all. Japan believes that there is no territorial issue that needs to be resolved over the Senkaku Islands whatsoever. In a counter to the abovementioned Chinese points, Japan has stated the following.

1. According to Japan, the islands have been uninhabited and have showed no trace of being under Chinese control prior to 1895.

2. The islands were neither part of Taiwan nor part of the Pescadores Islands, which were ceded to Japan by the Qing Dynasty in the Treaty of Shimonoseki. Therefore, the Japanese believe their claim to the islands was not affected by the San Francisco Peace Treaty.

3. Though the islands were controlled by the United States as an occupying power between 1945 and 1972, Japan was given and has exercised administration over the islands ever since.

4. Taiwan and China only started claiming ownership of the islands in 1971, following a May 1969 United Nations report that a large oil and gas reserve may exist under the seabed near the islands.

So, as one can see – they are simply bickering over lands that they have no legitimate stake in. Those islands are mine and I’m considering submitting a formal complaint of sorts, but I fear that without widespread worldwide support, I will fall victim to the same fate as many Japanese businesses and establishments in China as I’m sure the validity of my claim will be questioned.

The Anti-Japanese Demonstrations

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Over the years there have been plenty of demonstrations concerning the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands. Lately, there’s been a resurgence of them in China, mostly due to Shintaro Ishihara’s decision to let Tokyo Municipality purchase three of the Senkaku islands from their current Japanese owners (the Kurihara family), placing them under state control. The Chinese government angrily protested, stating, “No one will ever be permitted to buy and sell China’s sacred territory.”

On August 15th, activists from Hong Kong sailed to and landed on one of the disputed islands, but were stopped by the Japan Coast Guard. The activists and their ship were detained by Japanese authorities and were deported two days later.

China wasn’t happy about this either.

In Beijing, citizens of began protesting in front of the Japanese embassy and protestors called for the return of the Diaoyu Islands and for Japan to confess her crimes. Chinese protestors marched down the streets chanting slogans such as “Defend the Diaoyu Islands” and “Smash Japanese Imperialism.” They called for the boycott of Japanese goods and for the government to retake the islands. Japanese flags were defaced, Japanese cars were smashed, and shops selling Japanese goods were vandalized.

According to Sing Tao Daily, the Chinese government sent in large numbers of armed police, who called for an end to the violent protests, drove the protesters away, and detained a handful of them.

The riots are also being condemned by a great amount of Chinese citizens and many are hoping for a soon to be realized peaceful solution as can be seen from posts on Sina Weibo (a Chinese microblogging website akin to a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook, used by well over 30% of Internet users in China with more than 300 million registered users).

When I first saw the horrific scenes, I was so ashamed of my own race, seeming so barbaric and outrageous through the lens, that at one point, I felt that such a lawless nation will never have any hope of becoming a peace-loving superpower that is deserving of respect, and that there is no point of staying in a country that can come to Armageddon so easily.

But after reading posts that have flooded Sina Weibo, most of which vehemently condemned such violence, I realize that while the rabble and the crimes they’ve committed in the name of love for China have irreversibly smeared the image of Chinese people, there are much more people who have utter contempt for them.

-Jing Gao –

Currently, the official stance of the involved parties is as follows: China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is urging people to express thoughts “rationally and within the law,” Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda wants China to prevent anti-Japan violence, Taiwan is annoyed but being ignored by pretty much everyone, and the United States just wants everybody to calm down.

As one can see, there’s a lot of stuff going on and the people and the governments are trying to figure out the best way to proceed with everything. Normally, I wouldn’t take a stance on these sorts of situations as they’re usually not entirely black and white cases, but these islands are obviously mine to claim. This I know for sure. Another thing I know for sure is that it’s a bad time to be the owner of Japanese goods in China with all the riots going on. Yikes.

Actually, this Happens a Lot

Unfortunately, territorial disputes are a pretty common thing between Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries. Koichi actually wrote about this a while ago in his post about all the current land disputes Japan is involved in.

Just recently at the London Olympic games a South Korean player got in big trouble for displaying a sign with a slogan supporting South Korean sovereignty over disputed islets that are claimed by both South Korea and Japan (called Dokdo in South Korean and Takeshima in Japan). There’s a small chance that these islets belong to my family as well, but I won’t get into that here.

And then of course there’s the whole China/Taiwan deal along with a slew of countless other issues plaguing the region. It would seem that territorial disputes are more rampant in the Asia Pacific are than any other, a full list of which can be found here. I’m sure there will always be plenty of disputes regarding the lands in the area, especially when they’re uninhabited islands such as the Senkaku. My only hope is that the issues can be resolved peacefully.

I’m not even going to get into all the other supposed stakes my family has in distant lands that are currently up for dispute, but here’s where you come in. I need you to help rally support for the cause and get the Senkaku Islands back into their rightful hands. Mine.

So tell me, what are your thoughts on the whole Senkaku Island dispute? Any important details I forgot to touch on? Who do you think has the most valid claim to the islands – Japan, China, Taiwan, or yours truly? What do you think should be done to resolve the issue at hand? Let us know in the comments!

Sites Referenced:
Senkaku Islands Wikipedia
2012 China Anti-Japanese Demonstrations Wikipedia

  • Koichinogakusei

    I would want that. Especially if Koichi gives it kindly for free. :)

  • Akuma

    We all should be grateful of Koichi’s kindness. When is his birthday? We must send him a present (puresento).

  • SAC

    Isn’t China already a large enough country? In comparision, Japan is a speck on the globe. Let Japan have the little islands.

  • OmenSpirits

    And to expand upon this. What people are upset about & what their government’s motives are, are two different matters entirely. The people remember the war through the generations. The government is an entity that serves itself first, and the people second. No matter the emotional sides in this issue, power is above all else, first priority to those that run the government, no matter the argument.

  • jim

    I think two things are going on here. First, the governments of Japan and China want to divert public opinion from internal failings. Nothing better than stirring the nationalist pot. Also, by provoking China, Japanese people will be more inclined to draw again closer with the US, which can help win them over to joining the still unpopular TPP agreement, which will only benefit a small but influential and powerful section of society.

  • DeTo-13

    Its not the land its the resources their all after.

  • anom

    They should just nuke the islands or this may start a war.

  • jc

    I kind of agree with the author- to prevent the conflict further escalating, just for fun the island should be owned by no one nation. Or the solution could simply be that no one nation has the right to drill for oil or has the right to exercise laws to confine anyone that set foot on the islands. my biased opinion would be that it should belong to Taiwan since it’s so damn close to it anyway– Taiwan used to be part of Japan, so one would think that chuck of islands should be handed back to Taiwan after the war.

    From the typical US/ British views, like magazine “the economist”, it’s plain stupidity to potentially wage a war over these tiny islands: one would think like that if they have little understanding of what happened in WWII in China and foreign invasion of China for more than a century.

    The root cause of the violence is the atrocities done by the brain washed Japanese soldiers who had raped and then murdered countless Chinese women and children during the WWII. Some generals even had a match to see how many “Chinese Pigs” they could slaughter with their samurai swords in an hour !! the winner was titled ” hundred man slash” – like it was an honor. The prevalent attitude was that their emperor was greater than god and slaughtering innocent Chinese was fun! “They are useless than pigs since they can’t be eaten — so don’t waste any bullets!” it was even posted in the Japanese newspaper with photographs of the 2 generals. Can you blame these murderers ? not really, I can only say what unbelievable things you could get people to do after 20 / 30 years of brainwashing.

    Exaggerating? For proper perspective please read the book” the rape of Nanking” of course the Japanese defending their national pride would apparently claim all these are fake and all accounts must have been falsified… the brutality simply could not be true… however if one’s great grandmothers/grandfathers were tortured brutally and killed, witnesses of the younger generations who survived would retell their stories to their kids. If you were a Chinese, can you possibly imagine that your family members like your grandfather could be telling a lie? No…

    What the Chinese want isn’t necessarily the islands (why fight for something so insignificant) but for the Japanese public to understand and acknowledge the atrocities of what they had done to the Chinese through proper education. If they understand the Chinese perspective, they would know how sensitive national pride and sovereignty are to the Chinese.

    The Japanese could say – why should we tell the truth when the communist party in China do the same thing and cover up their own history? e.g 20/30 millions people died needlessly from Great Leap forward and Cultural Revolution under the “GREAT” leadership of Mao or the Tiananman Square incidence where thousands of students were murdered ?

    I would say that the Japan, being one of the wealthiest democratic nation- instead of a communist country where freedom of speech against their own government is prohibited and brainwashing the crowd is the norm- should know better and stand on a higher moral ground.

    How? By simply educating their children of the truth: educating them about the atrocities done to the Chinese in WWII like what the Germans have done in their school curriculum. This will enhance greater mutual understanding instead of being ignorant about why few tiny islands mattered at all.

    In China, there are of course shameless criminals who would smash or steal expensive watches and goods in the name of protest against Japanese. Although this is inexcusable, we must remember that the average Japanese is more than 8 times wealthier than the average Chinese in terms of GDP per capita and on average far more educated! The average Chinese with 1.3 billion people, astonishingly is poorer than an average person in Columbia or even Libya!!!

    Thus using the developed nation standard to compare to a developing nation standard on rule of law, corruption etc is similar to imposing your 3 year old kids to the same standard in manners to an adult! i.e You simply can’t have the same expectation and standard on a 3 year old versus an adult!!

    So with the backdrop of understanding the average Chinese psychology over why the tiny islands are such a big deal, it should be understandable that 10000 mentally unstable protestors across the country (or 0.000007%) going on a rampage and may be 10000 criminals and thieves stealing stuff are really not very significant in a developing nation with a population of more than >1.3 billion people. I would support that all who committed serious crimes should be locked up for a number of years or even decades when injuring drivers in one case who was beaten up and had fallen into vegetarian state. Why? he was driving a Japanese Car! These kind of stories freak people out and would you buy a Japanese Car if you were Chinese for the next 5-10 years ? No…

    The funny joke about boycotting the japanese goods: CCTV and almost all journalists use japanese branded cameras — why not smash all of them to pieces to vent out your anger?

    Moral of the story: Please would the Japanese government respect history and start educating the public the atrocities done to the Chinese in the history of WWII. At least this is a sign for asking for forgiveness and could resume the relationship back to normal. The point is that most Chinese haven’t forgiven the Japanese because most don’t even have a clue over these things.

    Finally, if you are still not persuaded, would the survivors of the Holocaust forgive the Germans if the German government tries to cover up the atrocities they committed in WWII?

    And if you still don’t get it, would you hold no grudge and completely forgive your neighbor who had brutally raped and then murdered your family member and yet that neighbor ‘s offspring has little knowledge of the sins committed and would still praise themselves as being morally right? I think over 99% of the people would say no.

    With the rise of Korea exports from cosmetics to electronics, TV drama, if the Chinese brand products are unavailable, given a choice, 90% of Chinese would choose Korean products over Japanese products if the cost and quality are similar.

    To sum up, for the sake of the prosperity of Japan and its people, especially those who relied on export industry, unless one could eradicate this very negative sentiment through greater mutual understanding such as more Japanese people learning the truth of history, Japan sadly really would become increasingly irrelevant in 10-20 years time and would miss the China’s growing market. With everyone worse off and poorer, is it worth it?

  • Kicco 
    China protest Japan over the Senkaku Islands

  • Joe Imamura

    You have forgotten to mention about newspaper of China 1953/1/8 stating that Senkaku (they used this name) as a part of Japan. Both communist China and Taiwan have published their maps prior to finding the natural resources marking Senkaku as a territory of Japan. A letter of gratitude from Chinese consul for saving over 30 fishermen in 1920 which also stating the islands as a part of Japan. Do we have to present more evidences ? You know the reason why they changed their own stance. As you mentioned, Senkaku is uninhibited, but there have been Japanese people living there until 1940 and there is no trace of any Chinese ever lived there.

  • Ryohei Fukuda

    Oh, Please don’t destroy the Japanese Brand Car made by Chinese workers in factories in China.

  • George

    Yep, I agree too. The islets are only an excuse. The japanese were horrific in malaysia, singapore, borneo. The japanese get everything they deserve after the war crimes. More tsunami please? Can you pass over another earthquake? Oh, they just had another 7.3. haha. Don’t worry. Japan is a sitting duck for destruction, every day.

  • kiven aberham

    so china take over the island and build a huge military base. what then? united state will bomb that base? really? who else will join in the fight? japan? which other target will get hit by china next beside united states and japan? this is china’s back yard, this isn’t hawaii or fiji. as if any real Asian country as any balls i dare you jap to start a war! you don’t think china will take this fight to you jap aholes door steps? as if any jap and american can stand up to north korea let along china, this is a child’s game your playing and you will get burn, united state will start a war in china, and this will give its economy a boost just like united states did in iraq but so will the chinese but the war zone will be japan!. you japs are a dumb ass joke!

  • chinshoyugim

    japan has territorial issues with china, russia & korea…. go figure who the greedy bastards are…

  • Peter Grzywacz

    Wow, I didn’t know! I hope you get your islands back!

  • Peter Grzywacz

    How about Taiwan? That’s who they’re closest to I believe.

  • fromOkinawa

    Hey all, just to make things clear, I appreciate all of this speculation about the Senkakus. Just to clarify some issues, Japan(the national gov’t doesn’t claim the islands). It’s securing on behalf my ethnic people, the Okinawans or previously known as Ryukyuans that have settled and build a nation in the archipelagos of the Yellow Sea. We existed as an independent sovereignty called the Ryukyus before we were incorporated into the Japanese Empire. And yes, the Qing Empire did recognize the islands as Ryukyu because they were actually settled and grazed by us, specifically by the people of Ishigaki. Just to let you know if you do come across Chinese people or scholars stating the Ryukyus and the Chinese Dynasties as one, hence, categorizing Ryukyuans and Chinese as the same cultural ethnic group, therefore the entire Nansei should belong to China. This is utter bullshit because ethnically and culturally, we are a branch of indigenous Japanese. The Okinawan islands are beautiful and we are proud of our heritage. We just can’t stand the global community acting like we don’t exist and for the most part, empathizing with China’s claims. Not that we have anything against the PRC, but it just that the information they provide is groundless and in reality, their activities are clearly hurting our economy because the waterways are actually administered by us Okinawans. And just to further clarify, we are Japanese and our national government does serve our prefecture and the rest well.

  • your mother

    fifty years? by that time the japs are going to suck up all the fucking oil. what’s the point of getting the islands when all they have is fish? fuck outta here. and fuck san marino, punkass microstate

  • your mother

    what the fuck do you think retard

  • HatsuHazama

    Oh my, such language. Think of all the children who may be browsing through the comments of articles 7 months old.

  • Bill David

    Don’t know where your ideas come from. China or not, all Chinese.

  • Bill David

    Let the Japan have Alaska is a better idea.

  • Bill David

    The whole disputation is nothing but a boy tried to trade with another boy directly instead of by means of Uncle Sam, and the kind uncle give them only one lollipop to watch them fight for it and so as to destroy their trades. Now Uncle Sam reached its goal and the two potential giants had to fight each other instead of trying to catch up with the uncle.